11 Days Portugal small group tour "Wonders of Portugal & Douro Valley"

Experience the Portuguese lifestyle with a small group of 12/14 travelers only! This unique tour takes you to discover the unspoilt beauty of a magical land, with its stunning diversity of enchanting landscapes, long white beaches and pretty coves and fascinating history of proud independence from, and distrust neighboring Spain. Celts, Romans, Visigoths, Moors and Christians all left their mark on the Iberian nation.

Travel to Portugal with its idyllic climate, dramatic vistas, rolling hills and mountains, lively markets, hearty cuisine, glorious art and architecture, that embodies all things Portuguese. From the warm hospitality of its people to the pleasures of the Alentejo wine route and Lisbon’s sights, tastes and sounds.Portugal is a country of rugged landscapes, sophisticated cities, rural backwaters and sharply contrasting traditions.

A land of surprises and we are excited to discover it together!

Location


 

TAPESTRY OF PORTUGAL & DOURO VALLEY TRAVEL ITINERARY

PORTUGAL SMALL GROUP TOURS

TOUR LIMITED TO 12/14 PARTICIPANTS ONLY FROM LISBON TO PORTO
 

DAY 1: WELCOME TO PORTUGAL & LISBON

Welcome to Portugal! Arrive at Lisbon International Airport and travel to the city center for a three nights stay at the 5 stars “ALTIS AVENIDA HOTEL“or similar, a charming boutique hotel which enjoys an excellent location close to the city’s architecturally treasures. At night a welcome dinner is planned at a local restaurant offering typical regional cuisine and wine.Overnight in LISBON

DAY 2: DISCOVER LISBON’S HIGHLIGHTS: BELEM & BIBLICAL OBIDOS

Portugal’s capital offers an irresistible combination of ancient and modern sights. We’ll begin our day with a bus tour through Lisbon with over 20 centuries of history to BELEM District,with its grandiose monuments and churches that mirrored the spirit of the time.Two of the finest examples of exuberant and exotic Manueline style of architecture are the XVI century JERONIMOS MONASTERY and the TORRE DE BELEM. The ambitious building reflects the confidence Portugal enjoyed when its explorers roamed the seas. One of the greatest navigators, Vasco de Gama is buried in the monastery’s church.Standing prominently on the Belem waterfront is the huge angular structure, the MONUMENT TO THE DISCOVERIES, built in 1960 to mark the 500th anniversary of the death  of Henry the Navigator. After a local street food experience of Pasteis de Belem (custard tarts) and an included lunch on the riverside, you will head to the picturesque Medieval walled town of OBIDOS, with its gorgeous historic center of a labyrinth of cobblestone streets and flower bedecked, whitewashed houses livened up with dashes of vivid yellow and blue paint.Return to the hotel on time for your free evening.Overnight in LISBON

DAY 3: LISBON’S ALFAMA, CASCAIS & FAIRY-TALE SINTRA

In the morning we’ll visit the labyrinthine ALFAMA, one of the oldest and most atmospheric quarters in Lisbon.You’ll find yourself wandering through colorful XVIII century squares downtown and getting lost in the medieval maze of the Alfama district overlooked by an ancient castle.Compact houses line steep streets and stairways,their facades strung with washing,and daily life still revolves around local grocery stores and small,cellar-like taverns. Here we will visit the TILE MUSEUM where you’ll be introduced to five centuries of decorative ceramic tiles AZULEJOS. Continue travelling along the Portuguese riviera where as far as the late 19th century wealthy Lisboetas have built holiday villas in the seaside town of CASCAIS. After free time for lunch,we drive to the quaint and aristocratic UNESCO town of SINTRA, for a visit to one of Europe’s most emblematic palaces, the 19th century PENA PALACE, which includes a drawbridge, a conglomeration of turrets, ramparts, domes and a gargoyle above a Neo-Manueline arch, all washed in an array of pastel shades.The extravagant interior is decorated in late Victorian and Edwardian furnishings, rich ornaments, paintings and priceless porcelain preserved just as the royal family left them.The remainder of the day is on your own.Overnight stay in LISBON

DAY 4:THE ALENTEJO REGION: MEDIEVAL ESTREMOZ, FAMILY QUINTA & CORK EXPERIENCE

Today’s visit takes you to travel into the countryside of the unspoilt wine-growing region of the ALENTEJO, through sparsely inhabited plains and gently rolling terrain, which is dotted with vineyards, cork trees, olive groves and several prehistoric monuments.We’ll be visiting first the charming little market town of ESTREMOZ, in the heart of the Alentejo wine district where a family-owned QUINTA will welcome us for an elegant home-hosted lunch. Following this, we’ll visit a well known local factory where we learn about the CORK production in Portugal. Drive to EVORA one of Portugal’s most beautifully preserved medieval towns for your next two nights at the 5 stars “CONVENTO DE ESPINHEIRO” or similar. Dinner is on your own this evening.Overnight stay in EVORA

DAY 5:UNESCO MUSEUM CITY OF EVORA & OLIVE OIL FARM

Today we discover the whitewashed UNESCO 2000 year old city of EVORA, an enchanting place to delve into the past.The town rose to prominence under the Romans and flourished throughout the Middle Ages as a center of learning and the arts.The elegant town is considered a museum city, shaped as it is by more than 20 centuries of history. It was once the residence of Portuguese kings in the 15th century, the beginning of the town’s golden age.Begin your exploration of the town at the ROMAN TEMPLE,before heading to the 12th century CATHEDRAL. Later,walk in the cobbled alleys to the bustling Praca do Giraldo with whitewashed houses adorned with wrought-iron balconies, where to view the ruins of the TEMPLE OF DIANA and the intriguing CHAPEL OF BONES. After lunch on your own, visit a family run OLIVE OIL FARM for an olive oil learning experience.Dinner is included this evening in a local restaurant.Overnight stay in EVORA

DAY 6: BACK-ROAD PORTUGAL: UNKNOWN JEWISH BELMONTE & DOURO VALLEY

Early morning departure to unknown BELMONTE, considered the spiritual center of Crypto-Jewry, a place where an entire community of Conversos kept large parts of their faith intact and after 500 years, returned to it en mass. Here we will have a walking tour to discover this charming little hill town with time to visit the Jewish Museum and the Medieval Castle. After a lunch in a Portuguese POUSADA near Belmonte, continue to the DOURO VALLEY, land of Port wine for your next two nights at the 5 stars “VINTAGE HOUSE HOTEL” or similar, with breakfast included.Dinner is on your own this evening.Overnight stay in PINHAO

DAY 7: MAGICAL LAMEGO, RABELO CRUISE & PORTUGUESE QUINTA

Today’s venture takes you to an epicurean experience through the unspoiled and enchanting Porto wine region.The Region of Douro covers approximately 250,000 hectares, of which 40,000 are vines.In the morning,departs towards the charming village of LAMEGO for a small walking tour followed by typical RABELO boat river cruise discovering Douro’s lush vineyards of enchanting natural beauty.Marvel with the beautiful terraced slopes of the Douro valley, heavily planted with vines, offering stunning views over one of the world’s most impressive man-made, rural landscapes.Drive to a Portuguese QUINTA for an included lunch accompanied by a local wine tasting.We enjoy the remainder of our afternoon and evening at leisure to get acquainted with Pinhao further on our own.Overnight in PINHAO

DAY 8: ENCHANTING MATEUS PALACE, PICTURESQUE AMARANTE & UNESCO GUIMARÃES

Our days starts with a visit to the splendid manor house MATEUS PALACE, built in the early 18th century by the architect Nicolau Nazoni, one of the few noble palaces that has remained with their original owners to our days.The Palace is surrounded by gardens,tree covered walks and allegorical statues. Following this, we stop for a street food experience in AMARANTE, a town that proudly displays its 17th-century mansions, with colourful balconies of painted wood brightly decorating the narrow streets, restaurants with terraces overlooking the river or the beautiful bridge of São Gonçalo, which leads to the great monastery of the 16th century that bears the name of the same saint.We stop for lunch on your own in the fascinating Celtic site of GUIMARAES, the first capital of Portugal and birthplace of the nation’s first king. It is one of the country’s most historic cities and its World Heritage medieval streets make it one of the most attractive places to visit in Portugal.Visit the imposing Medieval Castle with eight crenellated towers 28m (92ft) high, built in the 10th century to protect the population from attacks by the Moors and the Normans. It was then extended to its present size in the 12th century by Afonso Henriques, the first king of Portugal, who was baptized in the small Romanesque chapel next to the castle.Spend the last three nights in PORTO staying at the central 5 stars “PORTOBAY FLORES” or similar. Dinner is on your own this evening. Overnight stay in PORTO

DAY 9: COLORFUL PORTO,PORTUGUESE TAPAS & FADO EVENING

The morning starts with half day guided tour of fascinating UNESCO OPORTO, Portugal’s second largest city, named for port wine.This morning, we’ll take a walking tour of Porto’s riverfront Ribeira district, including the lavish rooms of its Stock Exchange Palace, the exquisitely gilded Church of São Francisco, and the Mural Artwork inside São Bento train station.Throughout three generations, many masters and craftsmen worked towards the building of this 19th century architectural jewel in neoclassical style.We complete the morning visit with an included Portuguese Tapas lunch. Then you’ll have time to wander on your own through Porto’s lively city center — or seek out some more sipping at an old port-wine lodge.The melancholic fado music is unique to Portugal,an expression of longing and sorrow.It is sung by women as men and is always accompanied by a Portuguese guitar and an acoustic Spanish guitar. In the evening at 18.00 enjoy a performance of FADO.Rest of the evening is on your own.Overnight stay in PORTO

DAY 10: UNIVERSITY TOWN OF COIMBRA & FAREWELL DINNER IN VILA NOVA DE GAIA

Enjoy a day at leisure to make your own explorations of the stunning city of OPORTO or join us on an included discovery of the historic COIMBRA, one of the oldest university cities in the world, where we take a walking tour of the 13th century university- a UNESCO site. The University campus is an architectural delight. We’ll discover the University library, which houses over 35,000 books, many dating back a century or more. This epic library is reminiscent of a scene right out of a Harry Potter movie.We’ll return to Porto by bus on time for your afternoon free.Tonight we’ll celebrate your Portuguese adventure with your last meal at one of the old wineries in VILA NOVA DE GAIA. Adeus from all of us at Secret Tours!!!Overnight stay in PORTO

DAY 11: ADEUS BEAUTIFUL PORTUGAL

Morning transfers to PORTO airport or train station.